Stigma Free Vet Zone

Stigma Free Vet Zone

Veterans discuss stigma and how it affected readjustment

Episodes

November 10, 2023 41 mins
Former Army medic Chris Swift has shared several podcasts with us. You will find his experiences leading up to this Friday August 12 episode on the podcast episode page of our webpage. Today we continue Chris’ transition experiences after his 55 month deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan serving as a combat medic. After years of […]
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  Veteran Brian Eisch of Luxemburg, WI, spent 20 years in the Army. He was wounded during an ambush in Afghanistan, which resulted in the amputation of one of his legs. Eisch is the subject of a documentary movie, “Father Soldier Son,” which was filmed over a 10-year period. While he laments the loss of […]
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September 17, 2023 51 mins
Mary Haupt is a readjustment counseling therapist at the La Crosse Vet Center in Wisconsin. She works with service members and veterans who have experienced trauma and other adverse experiences while serving in the military, including those who have experienced military sexual trauma. Extensively trained in trauma-informed therapy, she is also an EMDR therapist. Mary […]
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August 28, 2023 59 mins
Mike Gemignani is a U.S. Army veteran who spent two tours in Iraq as a 13F forward observer with the 1-502 Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He completed a short stint in college before his enlistment in 2004 and, after exiting the military, returned to school to pursue a career in biomedical electronics. […]
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August 5, 2023 31 mins
Lani Rethaber, executive director of Patriot K9s of Wisconsin, is a Marine Corps and Wisconsin Army National Guard Veteran. Lani has a passion for helping Veterans and in 2019 started as a volunteer at Patriot K9s. Patriot K9s, a Central Wisconsin-based nonprofit, raises and trains psychiatric service dogs for disabled veterans. He has since become the […]
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  West-central Wisconsin veteran Amanda McCune Cassidy’s U.S. Army service included a deployment to Afghanistan 2009-2010 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. During her deployment, she was one of a few females to do route clearance — working with explosive ordinance disposal technicians from different service branches to clear roads of improvised explosive devices; she […]
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July 21, 2023 31 mins
Wisconsin Rapids-area veteran Cory Poast joined the U.S. Army when he was 34 years old. He served in Hawaii, and then deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in 2008, and served a year in-country. He works to find personal peace through humor, music, nature and sarcasm — working to keep toxicity out of his life. He notes, […]
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Sarah Blum has experienced first-hand the traumas of war, having served as a surgical nurse in the Vietnam War. She also has experienced another form of trauma faced by many veterans: military sexual trauma. Sarah wrote about MST in her book, Women Under Fire: Abuse in the Military, and continues to travel the nation advocating […]
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Veteran Jim Osterman set out to make a difference in as many lives as he could. He embarked on a journey to do what he could to help prevent veteran suicide. He found an answer in the peace he knows beneath parachutes’ canopies and, as a result, founded the nonprofit Veterans Skydive 4 Life. He […]
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June 23, 2023 28 mins
Ashley Spangberg, a veteran from Strum, Wisconsin, found that making art has been important in her transition from military life, which for her included tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She sells her art through the Patriot Beads and Brass business that she developed. Besides making her own art, she often does art workshops for veterans’ […]
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June 16, 2023 37 mins
Charlotte Ayers wore the uniforms of three different services during her 89 years, and recalls the challenges of her U.S. Marine Corps husband’s emotional healing after he returned from Vietnam. The healing has prompted Charlotte to urge veterans of all ages to seek help when it’s needed. She was raised in Neillsville, WI, and lives […]
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Eric Chandler is the author of Kekekabic (Finishing Line Press, 2022) and Hugging This Rock (Middle West Press, 2017). His writing has appeared in Northern Wilds, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Talking Stick, Sleet Magazine, O-Dark-Thirty, Line of Advance, Collateral, The Deadly Writers Patrol, PANK, The Wrath-Bearing Tree, Consequence Magazine, and Columbia Journal. Chandler was nominated […]
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May 26, 2023 27 mins
Vietnam veteran Doug Bradley is an expert on the way music affects service personnel during their active duty tours, during their transitions to civilian life, and beyond. He and UW-Madison Professor Craig Werner — with whom Doug taught a Vietnam War class at the university — interviewed about 300 Vietnam veterans to hear music-related stories, which they […]
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Chris Pettis is executive director of The Highground Veterans’ Memorial Park near Neillsville, WI. Chris discusses how veterans and their families stories of transition and healing at The Highground, and how he and The Highground’s staff and volunteers handle the emotions of those stories. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and in 2014 […]
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May 12, 2023 25 mins
Brian Jopek, reporter and news director at a newspaper in Minocqua, Wisconsin, is a veteran of the war in Iraq. His son, Ryan David Jopek, followed Brian into the Wisconsin National Guard and ultimately also was deployed to Iraq. Ryan David was killed in action in the same area where his father had served, making […]
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Veteran Pam Graham of Osseo, Wisconsin, understands the importance of family in the world of military veterans. She also knows the importance of veterans’ military families, along with the need for intergenerational communications between veterans. The daughter of two Marines, Pam enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1986 and reached the rank of E-7 – […]
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April 14, 2023 25 mins
Bonnie Pettis is the daughter of a Navy Vietnam Veteran, a Marine Veteran sister, wife (of 22 years), mother and mother-in-law. She served the family home-front with an infant and a toddler for 2 of the 3 career combat tours her husband experience and remained state side during his one year duty station in Okinawa. […]
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Dawn Strobel grew up in Milwaukee and Cedarburg, WI. Her parents divorced when she was young. Dawns father is a Vietnam veteran who never spoke of his military experience and who Dawn did not have much interaction with while growing up. She would come to know him later in life. Dawn’s mother remarried and yet […]
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Former Army medic Chris Swift has shared several podcasts with us. You will find his experiences leading up to this Friday August 12 episode on the podcast episode page of our webpage. Today we continue Chris’ transition experiences after his 55 month deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan serving as a combat medic. After years of […]
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Bob Nevin is a native of Queens in New York. At an early age Bob, his parents and family moved to UpState New York. Bob’s mom was home raising the family while his dad, a WWII veteran of the war in the South Pacific, built his career in aviation. Bob’s dream of a life in aviation […]
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